I frankly was going to ignore the whole snow day backlash against the Asian American chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, then it hit me.
To turn a blind eye to racism doesn’t make it go away. It just makes it acceptable which is totally unacceptable.
In case you haven’t been on Twitter lately, students at the U of I took to spewing four letter words and various parts of the female anatomy to react to chancellor Phyllis Wise decision not to declare a snow day and leave the campus open today.
Inside Higher Ed reported that Wise only became aware of the backlash because of the many messages she received from colleagues offering their support.
Someone even sent a bouquet of flowers to her office.
Rosalind Chou, co-author of The Myth of the Model Minority: Asian Americans Facing Racism, said “As we see with President Obama, his position does not protect him from racist attacks. People of color are oftentimes encouraged to ignore racism and work hard to prove their worth, but ignoring racism does not eliminate it. It must be taken head on for us to have any realistic progress in the United States.”
Judith White runs a program for female executives in higher education. She says unfortunately minority and women executives need to be prepared for incidents like this.
“You hope it’s not going to be you to have this happen, but you do have to be ready.”
I went on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne’s website. Ironically featured on the home page is a message from Wise on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.
“I think if he were here today, Dr. King would be among the first to acknowledge that the United States has, indeed, made great progress in realizing his dream. But I also believe that he would be among the first to say that there is still a distance to go and that we all have plenty left to do. We each have a personal opportunity to advance Dr. King’s ideologies of equality and justice, and I hope you will “make the dream your own,”
It’s a lesson many on her campus apparently still need to learn.
You can read more analysis of the snow day backlash in Inside Higher Ed